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COLT COBRA PART 2 ACCURACY REVIEW

 

Last time in part 1 we took a look at the gun.

COLT COBRA REVIEW PART 1

Now we are going to take a look at how accurate it is.  I won’t bother saying anything about reliability, it is a double action revolver after all and one made by Colt so it obviously will work.

I shot a variety of  commercial factory loads  for accuracy at 25 yards.  The Buffalo Bore plus P load being one of the best.  It was also one of the hottest.  While it shot great it was not a pleasure to shoot out of a small compact revolver.

I tried this 90 grain lighter load in anticipating that a lot of users of a gun this size would buy loads that may mitigate recoil.   It wasn’t a tack driving load but it is certainly  pretty decent.   I would carry it and use it inside the ranges I expected  I could make a hit under pressure with a snub nose.

 

The next was the Hornady critical defense flex tip, 110 grain bullet. Another lighter load.  Again, it shot pretty good.

The worst of the ammo I tried  was the Winchester super X.  Not gonna set the world on fire.

I’m not going to lie,  I have never been much of a wheel gun shooter and even less of a snub nosed revolver guy. The lighter guns surprised me how tiresome it can get shooting for groups with stiff loads.  I was happy try this reduced recoil self defense load from federal.  It shot great too.   The best group picture blurred and already tossed the target,  but here is the second best group.

 

I had a few rounds of this Fioocchi some one gave me a few months ago.  I fired all ten rounds  offhand at 25 yards at the head just to use them up.  I was dumbstuck at how well it shot and how well I shot on double action off hand.  May be because I was relaxed and did it just to goof.     But, surprises  do happen if you shoot enough long enough.  I wish I had  more of this ammo to   shoot another group from the bags.

 

 

Lastly, again because I aim to please, the 10 0 yard target.  I fired these from a rest, but not bags, at a man sized-ish  target to see what  all CCW guns could do if pressed into having to make a critical longer range shot.  Ammo was the stiff Buffalo Bore +P round.

 

A few notes.   I need more time to get uses to the revolver sights.  I am used to a back sight like a Novak  or BOMAR. The trench in the top strap with front sight is something I keep shooting too high with.   I would really have to work with revolvers with this sight set up for a while to get used to that if I intended to carry it.   Using +P ammo in a small frame revolver, even in 38spl  gets hard on the hands after a while, rubber grips are a must for me anyways.

The action of the Cobra is very slick  and smooth.  Lovers of the mythologized python would no doubt like the action of the Cobra. I have never shot a revolver on DA  as well as I have this one.  It is a nice  compact gun that I can find no fault with if you are looking for one to CCW or just to buy cause you like 6 shooters.  For a closer look at the gun, its finish and craftsmanship, refer back to part one in the link above.

George Farr And His Famous 70 At The 1921 National Matches

 

 

One of long range shooting’s greatest feats by a civilian shooter took place during the 1921 National Matches at Camp Perry. Ohio. Two men would ultimately be pitted against each other in a shoot-off during the 1000 yard Wimbledon Cup Match. The winner of the match oddly enough fell into virtual obscurity, The man who came in second would go on to be remembered  even to this day.  The trophy ended up being named after him and for his accomplishment that day.   Friday Septemeber9, 1921.   That man who came in  “first loser ” was of course Geroge R. Farr.

 

George came to the National Matches that year at the age of 62. He was a member of the Seattle Rifle and Revolver Club and the Washington Civilian Team.  He used a simple no frills kit. A sight micrometer and a old pair of binos he sawed in half to use as a spotting scope.   The winner of the match,  USMC Sgt. John Adkins, used a heavy barreled special rifle made at Springfield Armory for the USMC shooting team.  It was sighted with a Winchester telescopic sight and he fires Remington commercial ammunition.  This combination he had already used to win a  900 yard 1,000 yard match and was the odds on favorite to win the 1,000yard Wimbledon match.

The 1921 National Matches  had two other noteworthy events that year.  One was the appearance of” the Springfield Armory’s new model 1903 National Match rifle that could be purchased by civilian shooters.  There were brought about through the work of then major Julian Hatcher of the Army Ordnance Department and Soringfield Armory’s Al woodworth,  The Armory, at their urging, “decided to make a special effort to supply the American rifleman with a service rifle whose equal had never before came from a government manufactory..”

Another first was the use d “Tin can ammunition” produced by Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia, PA.  Col. Townnsend Whelan developed this ammunition. “Based on information from a study done by French artilllerists, showed that by mixing tin with the powder charge , copper fouling by the cupro-nickel bullet jacket could be greatly reduced and much more easily cleaned from the bore.   A slightly different approach was used by Whelen as a solution to the metal fouling problem. Instead of incorporating the tin into the powder charge, the 170gr flat based bullet was coated with a .0003″ layer of tin,  This “tin can”  bullet, as it came to be known did eliminate the copper fouling and  also gave improved accuracy.”  The downside to this use of this tin was to “cold solder” a bullet into the case neck.   This welded the bullet into the case mouth so tightly that 300- 600 pounds or more was needed to pull the bullet and break this seal.    When shot in a clean dry chamber this normally not  much of an issue.  Shooters being shooters, some of them ignored warnings not to use grease on the bullets and ran pressures as high as 75,000 p.s.i. when the grease eventually got onto the case necks and kept them from expanding while fired.  Of course several accidents happened and the War Department canceled the use and production of the “tin can” ammo. The reason the shooters  would grease the bullets on their ammo at the time is a tale for another time.

Early in the shooting for the Wimbledon that afternoon were a list of 18 names of the shooters that had dropped only one point,a nd 29 who  had a score of 98 from 690 entries for the match. There were 2 possible scores of 100, one of which tiedthe previous years record and one that was 100 plus a 4 bull’seyes.  The previous year the match saw its first possible when 21 bull’s eyes won it,  In the event that a possible was made, the competitor would continue firing for record until he would finally miss a bullseye. At this point he would go out of the match. These so called “shoot offs” could go on for long periods of time”

John Adkins took his place on the line at about 2:30 that afternoon. With a wind blowing a 1 o’clock, it seemed as if Adkins would likely not make a  possible.  “After finally scoring his possible he settled down and began to put the 180 grain rounds down range and steadily began a string of bullseyes.  On Adkins 40th shot the gathered crowd though he was finished as the target remained down for longer than normal time. When it   reappeared the shot was scored just inside the bull by the slimmest margin.  AS his string of bullseyes grew, there was much speculation as to whether he could break his own record of 71 bullseyes set during the Remington Match that was held on the first day of competition. After 72 bulls eyes were scored it was wondered how long Adkin’s string would continue.   It wasn’t long before his scored his last when the 76th shot was out of the black.”

While Adkins was still in the middle of his string, the range officer called up an old fellow  whose teammate had nicknamed “Dad”.   AS opposed to Adkins, George used an “As issued” 1903 national match springfield rifle with service sights and the 1921 national match ammunition that was issued to him.  It was not a personal rifle used over years and known as well as he knew himself.   “George came to the firing line that afternoon with only an educated guess for his 1,000yard elevation.  He had shot last  as the 600 yard range and in fact used his 2 sighters that  were allowed in the Wimbledon Match to sight in his ’03 at the 1,000 yard range. His first sighter was fired at about 4:30  and he scoped that shot through  his sawed off half binoculars. ” He saw the first shot was a three,  He used his sight micrometer to adjust the slide on the 03 and fired his second sighter down range. This time the spotter showed a hit inside the black bullseye for a five.   His first record shot followed.

It was reported that George  appeared to have little concern as if he was shooting a string of rapid fire, and would load a clip of 5 rounds at a time instead of loading singly as was customary.

Nineteen shots found the black of the 36inch bull of the 1,000 yard “C” target when George appeared to become a bit nervous. He later explained that, “When that nineteenth shot scored a bullseye, I just happened to think that if my next shot got in I’d make a possible. I’d never made a possible at 1,000 yards not even a 10 shot one, and I just though I’d be mighty proud to make one at the National Matches. So I was a little  bit shaky, but I looked around and nobody seemed to be paying any attention to me, so I fired.”

The scorer called out “Mr. Farr’s twentieth shot for record a five” Then to the surprise of all. George proceeded to arise, gather his gear and strode from the firing line.

“Wait a minute; keep on firing ” said the range officer.

“What for?” Farr asked.

“Well you might win something” answered the range officer.

“All right; I reckon I can shoot some more, only I haven’t got any more cartridges”, replied George.

“Here are some”, the  range officer said, offering him two more clips.

“I reckon one of them will be enough,” George replied as he got back into position again.

“As the range officer was kept busy finding  a supply of more of the  “tin can” ammunition Farr had been using, George began to shoot as quickly as he was able as the light now was starting to lessen in the late afternoon sky. Reports sid that the frequency of his shots was remarkable, considering the range, but he did not get quick service in the pits. Had he received better pit service and the light had held out longer that afternoon could have spelled and entirely different outcome to the days events.”

By now  a small crowd had gathered behind him as George continued to put rounds down range and into the black of the bullseye. The group he produced grew from left to right across the target , and at times the shots would climb a bit but they remained in the black. .  “The light held failry good until George reached his 60th shot, then it rapidly began to fade. By the time his 65th shot had been fired, the light had gotten very bad.  Geroge began to hold down on the butts with his 66th shot, and with added elevation this only allowed him 4 more bullseyes. On his 71st shot, at 6:10PM, he scored a four and ended his string  of 70 consecutive bullseyes to give Adkins his closest call of the match.”

At the conclusion of the match the officials asked Farr if he would like to purchase  the rifle he used that day.    A price at that time through the DCM of about 41 dollars.   But George did not have the money.  His 70 bullseyes  that year at the National Matches had already started its journey into shooting history and impressed the competitors present that they took up a collection and purchased the rifle for him.

The following year the NRA donated and ornate silver trophy to commemorate Farr;s shooting feat, known as the Farr Trophy and it is awarded to the high scoring service rifle shooter int he Wimbledon Cup Match.

In 1922, the 1000 yard C target was changed with the addition of a tie breaking   20 inch diameter “V” ring to end the time consuming “shoot offs” when the 20 shot possible was reached. Due to this fact, it is George’s claim to fame that he still holds a virtually unbreakable record for the Service Rifle during the Wimbledon Match.”

 

Quotes and sources

Bill Bentz- The Last Post   Part 121 Final Resting Place of Famous Rifleman

Precision Shooting Magazine April 2006

American Rifleman

Pictures of Farr’s rifle  litter the web, I have no real idea who took them.  But will credit  photog  if he or she happens to show up  and let me know.

A Taxonomy of Safeties

In addition to the other two posts so far today, I am sharing another one of Hognose’s posts from Weaponsman.com.  This is a repost in our ongoing commitment to honoring  our dead friend Kevin and his work.

A Taxonomy of Safeties

by   Kevin O’Bien “Hognose”

There are several kinds of safeties that are used on service weapons to ensure that only the proper and deserving people are shot. They generally interface in some way with the firing mechanism of the firearm. They may act on the trigger, the hammer or striker, or the sear, or (in some fiendishly clever arrangements) more than one of the above. It is generally thought better to positively lock the striker or firing pin than merely to lock the sear or trigger. If the mechanism fails due to parts breakage, it is easier to design a fail-safe mechanism if the striker or firing pin is immobilized.

Safeties Classified by Operator Volition

Safeties can be classified based on the degree of volition required to use them. An applied safety must be consciously put on, in most cases. An automatic safety is unconsciously applied as the pistol is taken up. Examples of automatic safeties include:

  1. the Glock Safe Action trigger and its many copies and derivatives;
  2. the grip safeties characteristic of many Browning designs, such as the M1911 .45 and the FN M1910 pocket pistol;
  3. similar grip safeties on open-bolt submachine guns such as the Madsen and the Uzi. (An open-bolt SMG poses peculiar safety problems);
  4. transfer-bars and other means to ensure a weapon can’t fire unless the trigger is pulled;
  5. mechanisms that hold a firing pin back until a weapon with a locking breech is fully in battery (the disconnector often does double-duty as this part);
  6. Firing-pin immobilizers as in the Colt Series 80 and newer M1911s (an earlier firing pin safety, the Swartz Safety, was used in commercial Colt 1911s from circa 1937 to 1940, and is used by Kimber today);
  7. A heavy, smooth trigger pull such as that on a traditional Double Action revolver or a DA/SA autopistol can prevent unintentional discharges. However, some heavy triggers (like the Glock NY2) have a bad enough effect on accuracy as to threaten bystanders with unintentional shooting.
  8. Magazine safeties, an obsolete European concept;
  9. Half-cock notches (in British/European English usage, these may be called half-cock “bents.”)

Contrasting with these automatic safeties, that do their work without conscious application by the operator, there are Applied or volitional safeties. Applied Safeties are usually classified by what part of the firing mechanism they work on, and so examples of Applied safeties break down into:

  1. Safeties that lock the trigger. The simplest of these are the crude trigger-blocking safeties on an SKS or Tokarev SVT. More complex trigger-locking safeties are found in the AR series of rifles and the FN-FAL;
  2. Safeties that lock the firing mechanism (which may be further divided into those that lock the firing pin, like the Walther P.38 or Beretta M92, and those that lock the hammer, like the US M1 Rifle, or
  3. The bolt holding notch in many 2nd-generation submachine guns. (These are reminiscent in a way of the safety of the Mosin-Nagant rifle, which requires the cocking piece to be rotated and caught in a notch). The case can be made that this is a firing mechanism lock, because the bolt with its fixed firing pin is the firing mechanism.
  4. Safeties that lock the sear. Examples include the .45 M1911, its younger brother the BHP, many other auto pistols, and most general purpose machine guns. Some require the weapon to be cocked to lock the sear, others allow locking the bolt forward (the RPD LMG and the Sterling SMG are examples of this).
  5. Safeties that disconnect the trigger from the sear. This is found in the Bren gun and many other Czech designs, historically. The ZB 26 and its derivatives were quite cunning: in one position, the selector brings the trip lever to engage the semi notch, which is in the upper side of a window in the sear. In the other position, it engages the auto notch in the lower side. In the intermediate, “safe,” position, the  trip lever clears both notches and the weapon does not fire.

Note that automatic safeties, too, can be broken down as working on the trigger, the firing mechanism, and the sear, also. So safeties can also be Classified by Operation.

Safeties Classified by Operation

It is possible to classify safeties in the first place by their means of action:

  1. Trigger safeties
  2. Firing-mechanism (striker, hammer, firing pin) safeties
  3. Sear safeties
  4. Disconnecting safeties.

This is true, obviously, for both automatic and volitional safeties, and classifying them this way puts their mode of action forward as more important than their mode of engagement, which (applied/volitional or automatic) becomes a secondary trait.

One More Trait: Must the Firearm be Cocked?

It is only possible to engage many safeties when the weapon is cocked or ready to fire (presuming a chambered round). Familiar examples include the AR series rifles and the 1911 pistol and other Browning hammer designs. Other safeties engage regardless of the energy state of the striker or hammer, for example the AK, the Remington Model 8 (a Browning-designed trigger mechanism that was deeply influential on 20th and 21st Century firearms designers, including Garand, Kalashnikov and Stoner), and the RPD light machine gun.

Combination Safeties

While a weapon may have multiple safeties that do different things (or multiple modes that engage the same safety, as in the safety lever and grip safety of early Lugers), it’s possible for a single cunningly-designed safety to disable multiple points of the firing chain at once. For instance, the Lee-Enfield safety is a model of versatility: it locks the striker, locks the bolt closed (preventing the chambering of a round), and disconnects the striker from the sear. The M1911 or Browning High-Power safety locks the slide closed as well as locks

It’s also possible for a volitional safety to be combined with other functions. The most common example of this is the combined safety/selector switch of most modern assault rifles, like the M16 or AK-47.

To Sum Up

There are a great but finite number of ways to design safety features on modern firearms. Careful study of prior art allows today’s designer truly to stand on the shoulders of the giants in the field. John Browning left no memoir or technical book, nor did John Garand, John D. Pedersen, Gene Stoner; and the many memoirs of Mikhail Kalashnikov are disappointing to the technical reader. But each of these geniuses spoke to us in the art of his designs, and they are still available for us to study and to try to read what their art is trying to tell us.

We have not, in this limited post, attempted to discuss “best practices” or the pros and cons of any individual safety design. Very often, the designer will be limited by the customer’s instructions or specifications. (For example, the grip safety of the 1911, which 1970s and 80s custom smiths often pinned in engagement as a potential point of combat failure, was requested of John M. Browning by the US Cavalry. The other military branches didn’t feel such a need, but the horse soldiers did, and Browning first added it on his .38 caliber 1902 Military pursuant to a similar request). Thus, even as a designer, your safety design decisions may not be your own.

Notes and Sources

  • This post has been modified since it was first posted, to expand it.
  • This post will be added to The Best of WeaponsMan Gun Tech.

This post owes a great deal to the following work:

Allsop, DF, and Toomey, MA. Small Arms: General Design. London: Brassey’s, 1999.

Chapter 13 is an extensive review of trigger mechanisms, including safeties, and while their classification of safeties is different from ours, their explanations are clear and concise.

Thanks to the commenters who not only recommend this long out-of-print book, but also sent us a link to a bookstore that had it (it’s a copy withdrawn from a military library, as it turns out). This out-of-print work is less technical and deep, but considerably more modern, than Balleisen; its examples are primarily British.

Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S), and you can expect any guest columnists to be similarly qualified. He passed away early last year.

What’s so special about John Moses Browning?

This post is a re post from weaponsman.com. We share it here today to honor and preserve our friend Hognose, who died last spring 

What’s so special about John Moses Browning? by Kevin O’Brien

 

Himself.

Himself.

If you take that question the wrong way, you’re thinking who is this bozo to diss Saint JMB? But we’re not putting the emphasis on the JMB side of the sentence, but the What’s so special? end. As in: we really want to know. Why is this guy head and shoulders above the other great designers of weapons history? What made him tick? What made him that way?

Browning was not a degreed engineer, but he is, to date, the greatest firearms designer who has ever lived.  Consider this: had Browning done nothing but the 1911, he’d have a place in the top rank of gun designers, ever. But that’s not all he did, by any means. If he had done nothing but the M1917 and M1919 machine guns, he’d have a place in the top ranks of designers. If he’d done nothing but the M2HB, a gun which will still be in widespread infantry service a century after its introduction, and its .50 siblings, he’d be hailed as a genius. One runs out of superlatives describing Browning’s career, with at least 80 firearms designed, almost 150 patents granted, and literally three-quarters of US sporting arms production in the year 1900 being Browning designs — before his successes with automatic guns.

He did all that and he was just getting warmed up. He didn’t live to see World War II, but if he had, he’d have seen Browning designs serving every power on both sides of the war. If an American went to war in a rifle platoon, a Sherman tank, a P-39 or P-51 or B-17, he and his unit were gunned-up by Browning. If he made it home to go hunting the season after V-J day, there were long odds that he carried a Browning-designed rifle of shotgun, even if the name on it was Remington or Winchester. Browning’s versatility was legendary: he designed .25 caliber (6.35mm) pocket pistols and 37mm aircraft and AA cannon, and literally everything in between. He frequently designed the gun and the cartridge it fired.

A lot of geniuses have designed a lot of really great guns since some enterprising Chinese fellow whose name is lost to history discovered that gunpowder and a tube closed at one end sure beats the human hand when it comes to throwing things at one’s enemies.  But nobody comes close to Browning’s level of achievement; nobody matches him in versatility.

So why him? As we put it, what’s so special? 

We think Browning’s incredible primacy resulted from several things, apart from his own innate talent and work ethic (both of which were prodigious). Those things are:

  1. He was born to the trade
  2. He was prolific: his output was prodigious
  3. He was a master of the toolroom
  4. He lived at just the right time
  5. He could inspire and lead others

Born to the Trade

John M’s father, Jonathan Browning, was, himself, a gunsmith, designer and inventor. He made his first rifle at age 13, and despite being an apprentice blacksmith, became a specialist in guns by the time he was an adult. From 1824 he had his own gunshop and smithy in Brushy Fork, Tennessee, and later would move to Illinois (Where he befriended a country lawyer named Lincoln). He joined the Mormons in Illinois and fled with them to Utah, making guns at each way station of the Mormon flight.

Jonathan Browning Revolving Repeater

Jonathan Browning Cylinder Repeater. Image from a great article on Jonathan Browning by William C. Montgomery.

Very few of Jonathan’s rifles are known to have survived, but he made two percussion repeating rifles that were, then (1820s-1842), on the cutting edge of technology. The Slide Bar Repeating Rifle  was Jonathan’s term for what is more widely called a Harmonica Gun. The gun has a slot into which a steel Slide Bar is fitted. The slide bar had, normally, five chambers; after firing a shot, the user cocked the hammer and moved the Slide Bar to the side to move the empty chamber out from under the hammer, and a loaded chamber into place. When all five chambers had been discharged, the Slide Bar was removed, and each chamber loaded from the muzzle and reprimed with a percussion cap. Jonathan Browning’s gun differed from most in that it had an underhammer, and that an action lever cammed the Slide Bar hard against the barrel to make a gas seal. He also made a larger Slide Bar available — one with 25 chambers, arguably the first high-capacity magazine.

The second Browning innovation was the Cylinder Repeating rifle. This was a revolver rifle, with the cylinder rotated by hand between shots. Like the Slide Bar gun, the cylinder was cammed against the barrel to achieve a gas seal — the parts were designed to mate in the manner of nested cones.

Young John M. Browning. From the Browning Collectors web page.

Young John M. Browning. From the Browning Collectors web page.

The designer of those mid-19th-Century attempts to harness firepower sired many children; like other early Mormons, he was a polygamist, and his three wives would bear him 22 children. From age six one of them apprenticed himself, as it were, to his father. Within a year he’d built his own first rifle. This son was, of course, John Moses Browning.

(Aside: the last gun made by Jonathan Browning was an example of his son’s 1878 single-shot high-powered rifle design, which would be produced in quantity by Winchester starting in 1883).

Malcolm Gladwell has popularized the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of hard work to become an expert — that’s roughly five years of fulltime labor. JMB had exceeded this point before puberty.

If you aspire to breaking Browning’s records as a gun designer, you need to acknowledge that, unless you started from childhood, you’re starting out behind already.

Prolific Output

Browning worked on pistols, rifles, and machine guns. He worked on single-shot, lever, slide, and semi-automatic actions, and his semi-autos included gas-operated, recoil-operated, direct-blowback, and several types of locking mechanism. Exactly how many designs he did may not have been calculated anywhere: it’s known he designed 44 rifles and 13 shotguns for Winchester alone, a large number of which were not produced, and some of which may not have been made even as prototypes or models.

His military weapons included light and heavy infantry machine guns, aerial machineguns for fixed and flexible installations, and several iterations of the 37mm aircraft and anti-aircraft cannon, the last of which, the M9, would fire a 1-lb-plus armor-piercing shell at 3000 feet per second; an airplane was designed around it (the P39 Airacobra, marginal in US service but well-used, and well-loved, by the Soviets who received many via lend-lease). All the machine guns used by the US from squad on up in WWII and Korea were Browning designs. But these were only his most successful designs; there were others. At his peak, he may have been producing new designs at a rate of one a week. 

If you want to to be the next John Browning, you need to start designing now, and keep improving your designs and designing new ones until the day you die. (Browning died in his office in Belgium).

Master of the Toolroom

The Browning workshop, back in the day.

The Browning workshop, back in the day.

From an early age, John learned to cut, form and shape steel. This is something common to most of the gunsmiths and designers of the early and mid-20th Century — if you remember our recent feature on John Garand, the photo showed him not a a drawing board by at a milling machine.

Browning could not only design and test his own prototypes — he could also design and improve the machinery on which they’d be produced, a necessary task for the designer in his day. Nowadays, such production development is the milieu of specialized production engineers, who have more classroom training, and probably less shop-floor savvy, than Browning brought to the task.

A reproduction of Browning's workshop in the Browning Museum in Ogden, UT.

A reproduction of Browning’s workshop in the Browning Museum in Ogden, UT. (From this guy’s tour post).

In Browning’s day, processes were a little closer to hand-tooled prototype work, but it still required different kinds of savvy and modes of thinking .

If you want to be Browning, you have to master production processes, for prototypes and in series manufacturing, from the hands-on as well as the drawing-board angle. There may never again be a designer like that.

Living and Timing

John M. Browning in 1921 with Mr Burton of Winchester and the category-creating Browning Automatic Rifle.

John M. Browning in 1921 with Mr Burton of Winchester and the category-creating Browning Automatic Rifle.

John M Browning lived in just the right time: he was there at the early days of cartridge arms, when even basic principles hadn’t yet been settled and the possibilities of design were wide-open and unconstrained by prior art and customer expectation. No army worldwide, and no hunter or policeman, really had a satisfactory semi-auto or automatic weapon yet (except for the excellent Maxim)

It’s much easier to push your design into an unfulfilled requirement than it is to displace something a customer is already more or less comfortable with.

If you’re going to retire some of John M. Browning’s records, you’re going to need the right conditions and a few lucky breaks — just like he had.

Inspiration and Leadership

To read the comments of other Browning associates of the period is to see the wake of a man who was remarkable for far more than his raw genius. Browning was admired and respected, to be sure, but he was also liked. At FN in Belgium, the gunsmiths called him le maître, “the master,” and took pleasure in learning from him.

M Saive at the drawing board. Image: FN Herstal.

M Saive at the drawing board. Image: FN Herstal.

His Belgian protégé, M. Dieudonne Saive, went on to be a designer of some note himself. While he did not achieve Browning’s range of designs, he, too, is in the top rank for his work finalizing the High-Power pistol (also known as the GP or HP-35) that Browning began, and for his own SAFN-49 and FAL rifle designs, and MAG machine-gun, all of which owed something to Browning’s work as well as Saive’s own.

If you want to be the next John Moses Browning, you have to know when to step back, and how to share the burden — and the credit.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

COLT COBRA REVIEW PART 1

The Cobra arrived from Colt last week and now that it is in my hot little hands, the long promised review can start.

The Cobra came out  over a year ago and made some noise as Colt’s noteworthy return to  double action revolvers.

A lot of people who want Pythons have griped about it  because it is not the Python they have been demanding in recent years .  All I can say to that is 1)  How many of those people were buying those much desired Pythons when colt was still making them and trying to sell them?  There is a reason Colt stops making a certain model and it is not because they were selling too many of them.  2)  Just hold your horses and see how well this “test the waters”  revolver goes, and you may get what you claim you want later.

Colt  has wisely decided to not jump elbow deep into making DA wheel guns again by making the kind of revolver most people who buy and carry revolvers actually want and carry.   This may seem to not make sense to come people when the look online and see all the clamoring for the Pythons.    Well think about all the times you have  been on a web forum and seen people telling some company “Oh, if you make that, you will get all the money!”   Sometimes they even proclaim they would buy one.  In reality, they won’t.  In fact, most of them saying it won’t.   Fact is a lot of people like the idea of something being out there, even if they have no plans to every buy it.       Or it would not be exactly the way the wanted it.   The barrel would be too long, or too short, or the wrong finish, or it would be too expensive or too cheap, or it would not be tactical enough.

With that in mind I think the new Cobra is a good way to test those treacherous waters.   It does not cater to the guys who want 2,000 dollar Pythons just for collectors value, or the big bore handgun hunters. Neither of which are a majority.  It is meant for the real majority.  People who want to carry a small, compact simple revolver.  Now lets take a look at it.

The Cobra has a stainless steel finish – not a bright polished stainless, but the nice balance of satin and matte.   It has the iconic Colt cylinder release and the always present Colt  Horse  logo.   The barrel has the rest of the Company info on the right side.  If you wished you could get one in a polished mirror like finish, the good news is you can polish this finish into a mirror yourself with some elbow grease and the right compounds.  A lot of  buyers have already done this and you can see how to videos on YouTube and gun forums.   I love the look of that mirror finish polished SS but for carry…      I scratch guns up too fast and the reflection  that polished stainless gives off makes me uncomfortable  with the idea of carrying a gun so ostentatious.  Not so much for fashion, but more for I don’t want it to be so obvious.

The muzzle of the barrel has a very nice recessed crown to protect it from damage.  A very nice touch for a gun meant to be used and used seriously.

As you can see above, the front sight is a fiber optic  red/orange  that shows up well in  daylight and gathers all available light when light conditions would make a plain front sight blade hard to see.

The rear sight is the standard revolver humped  up back with notch for alignment.  Which is what you would want from a gun many will stick in a purse, a pocket, or who knows what else that would make it easy to snag a rear sight on when trying to draw. Or have on a belt, that would allow an adjustable sight to tear the lining out of shirts, jackets, or coats.

The left side of the barrel tells you what you are shooting.  The Cobra is a  .38 Special rated for +P rounds.   I know a few have said they would  rather it have been in  .357 Magnum and at first I agreed. Then I remembered how it feels to shoot a .357 in a gun that small and light and how many people with a .357 gun in this  size never really carry .357 loads in it anyway and just use  .38 Spl and  reconsidered.   The .38 Spl in a modern +P load is enough.  It allows the gun to be a bit smaller and not as expensive as well and it sure is easier on the hand for most people who carry more than they ever shoot.     It makes me wonder how well  Cobra chambered in 9mm or 45ACP would would sell though.    As I said above though, lots of people ask for all manner of odd ball things from gun makers. Usually it’s only something the person demanding it would buy.

With loading in mind, the grip are nice soft comfy Hogue rubber grips but with the Colt logo.    These feel great for shooting hot loads.  Now Colt offers the Cobra with other choices in grips. My favorite being the ones made by VZ Grips with the Colt logo made into the G10 material .

Last on our list is the inside.  Everyone knows what the inside of a DA revolver looks like. That is not what I want you to see.  I want you to see what impressed me. The total lack of tool marks or swirls and all the things usually inside of a gun’s guts hidden from the  outer world.

Other than some burnt powder crud, that is some smooth internals.   It looks like it has had attention to detail lavished on it.  This is what people talk about when they are going on about the Colt revolvers of yore.     If you are a  Colt wheel gun guy, I do not think you will be let down.

 

Now, the stock trigger of a DA revolver usually feels like trying to bend a nail to me.  I am a single action semi auto guy to the core. I will never change.    But this trigger feels good!   Easy to  keep the sights on target through the entire pull, and that is a challenge for me usually.   Hand me a gun like this and I will always opt to cock  it to single action fire  if I have a choice.  But with this one, I am seeing what draws some people to a fine DA 6 shooters.  I have dry fired it for about 1 hour every night for 7 days, and I have  learned a lot about how to quickly fire a DA revolver.    If any of you 6 shooters have any tips for me, please share in the comments.

 

That is the end of Part 1 which is usually my  thoughts on a guns looks, how it works, and the features, etc.   In Part 2, we will get it fired up, see what accuracy it has, and shoot it as far as I can manage.